Brian Bontekoning, Kawasaki ZX10R, Kawaski ZX10R Masters

Pro Tour Series: the secret life of a Transformer

THEY say they live amongst us, have regular jobs, drive the same cars and motorcycles back and forth from work, mow the lawn on a Saturday morning and click through the same TV channels—I'm talking about aliens.
Never in a million years could I ever imagine meeting an alien, but what about a Transformer at the racetrack?

In the previous race season he sported a very mundane look (I did some background checking), presumably all part of his plan to slowly but surely infiltrate the race society without attracting too much attention. I still believe that most are still ignorant about the fact that there is a Transformer in the Red Square Kawasaki ZX10R Masters' camp. So consumed by our own lives that we fail to notice the patterns in the everyday chaos.

Saturday morning and the Red Square Kawasaki ZX10R Masters are ready for heat one. On the front row of the starting grid Pieter de Vos, Tony lucky number 13 Klem, Paul Jacobs and Brian Bontekoning lined up for the first race. The revving of Kawasaki ZX10R engines fill the air waves, animated spectators waited in anticipation for the start of the race.

The sound of roaring Kawazaki ZX10R engines indicated that they were off, causing my heartrate to go up an extra beat or so. Unfortunately, sitting just after turn two I did not see the start. With the speed of light and a roar capable of blowing holes in your eardrums, they came out of turn two. I tried to keep up with the passing bikes, my Nikon camera working overtime. Luckily there were 12 laps, enabling me to get a few decent shots. Sometimes the keep rate at this ultra fast sections of the racetrack can be very disappointing, but if you are able to capture just one decent action shot it is much more rewarding than sitting at a slow turn.

These Red Square Kawasaki ZX10R Masters kick up an invisible force so fierce that I had trouble staying upright as they passed me.
As the Kawasaki ZX10R train spread out more evenly the air punches eventually faded.

And then I spotted the Transformer through my lens! After all the hours spent in the warm winter’s sun I finally got to see a transformation in progress... dark grey turning into bright orange (almost Ghost Rider-like) before it came to an abrupt stop against an invisible barrier—stuck between two worlds... the metamorphoses incomplete. Then I realised who the Transformer was... Most will never believe me, but I can live with that.

Race one delivered some impressive results: Brian Bontekoning followed by Pieter de Vos, Joe Shearer, Tony Klem and Paul Jacobs, with Brian boosting a best time of 01:04.636—impressive. In the second race the winning order slightly changed: Pieter de Vos taking top podium spot, followed by Brain Bontekoning, Joe Shearer and Tony Klem.

In the garage, on the righthand side of the middle section stood the semi transformed motorcycle, cooling down after a arduous day—sporting a vibrant red 16 on the bubble. The bright yellow helmet on the race seat had to be the invisible barrier stopping the Transformer’s progress, but who cares, I finally got to meet the man chosen for this task—Brain Bontekoning. Godspeed! •

Words & Photos: Adriaan & Martine Venter (Pro Tour Series, Zwartkops Raceway, South African Motorsport, 2012/06/30, 81 images) Main Image: Brian Bontekoning #16, Kawasaki ZX10R Masters, Kawasaki ZX10R.